As I noted in my post Could This Be The End of El Hefe, it bugs the heck out of me how the folks in the MSM are bound and determined to present Raul Castro as a pragmatist, willing to transform economy in the mold of China, as well as a willingness to work with the US after Fidel. Thankfully Mari Werlau, president of the Free Society Project, Inc., has a good piece in the New York Sun that points out that Raul is one of the chief propagators of Castro's Terror since the fall of Cuba to the Communists in 1959. After reading the following, I have to say that the perception of Raul being a guy we can work with and is willing to introduce change is far from the truth:
When Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista took to exile on January 1, 1959, Raul was charged with the governorship of Santiago, the country's second-largest city. While Fidel triumphantly marched toward Havana, Raul was ordering executions. He had at least 278 former members of the Batista government, police force, or Armed Forces executed in the first fifteen days of January. In just one day, on January 12th, he sent, without trial, over one hundred men to the firing squad. Raul is said to have stomped into the room where a Revolutionary Tribunal was staging a mass trial. Holding a caliber .45 pistol under his belt and a machine gun on his hand, he yelled, "Bring this comedy to an end. These despicable men don't even deserve a trial, they are unworthy dogs." The men were taken in groups to San Juan Hill, where they were executed to cries of "Long live Cuba" or "Long live Christ the King." The killings went on all night, the victims buried in mass graves dug by bulldozers.One can only imagine what the Cuban regime will be like under the rule of Raul Castro. Let's hope for the sake of the Cuban people and democracy in general that his rule and that of his brother is over in the near future.
Raul was defense minister during the bloody Angola war of the 1980's, during which several civilian massacres were reported, including a chemical gas attack on a village documented by U.N. observers. But what is perhaps his most heinous exploit is his leadership, as defense minister, for over four decades of systematic assassination of civilians trying to flee Cuba. Special Air Force units have been dedicated to sinking rafts by throwing sandbags from helicopters or light planes. The mere beginning of a documentation effort (CubaArchive.org) has uncovered more than two hundred victims of Cuban border guards, mostly civilians, including many children. The preliminary tally already exceeds the number of total assassinations in Berlin Wall crossings.
Raul is also Castro's primary and only known associate in the plunder of Cuba's economic resources. The Limited Partnership of Two has accumulated vast wealth via the most spectacular privatization of an entire country, no matter it's been materially destroyed in the process. As ordinary Cubans live destitute existences, the brothers also control a vast global conglomerate of enterprises that feed a network of bank accounts in Switzerland. A select group of cronies within the highest echelons of the ruling elite is allowed to participate only within certain bounds. What is perhaps most important in analyzing events is often missed.
Whether it is Raul — alone or in conjunction with others — who affects the planned succession, what happens next will depend primarily on who holds the key to Cuba's huge repressive apparatus. If reports from former Cuban intelligence officers are true, Cuba has more secret police and informants per capita than any of the former Soviet bloc countries, including the former Soviet Union's KGB and East Germany's Stasi. Cuba's vast Stalinist apparatus is well geared to handle events, at least in the beginning, as long as the leadership can maintain cohesiveness. State structures controlling all aspects of society are also well in place.
*Also go to Cuba Archive to see the horrific nature of Rual and Fidel Castro.